Carnegie Mellon University

For more information about Dr. Helgeson, see her vitae [.pdf]

The Staff:

Pamela Snyder attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she majored in sociology. Later she completed her masters degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Throughout her career as a researcher she has worked on a variety of studies covering topics such as the response of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Hurricane Hugo, customer satisfaction for business clients of the United States postal system, and the quality of job placement for technical schools in Southwestern PA.  Dr. Helgeson and her have worked together for over 20 years on the quality of life of women diagnosed with breast cancer and young people with type 1 diabetes. She has three grown children, Rebekah, Anne and Ben, and a dog named Dingo. Most of her free time is spent at her cabin near Cook’s Forest.

Abby Vaughn graduated from Pitt with a bachelor's in psychology. She began working with Vicki in 2004. She spent her first year with Vicki working on a breast cancer research project, and since then has worked on the Teen Health, Transition Times, and REACH studies. She lives in Pittsburgh's North Hills area with her husband and two young sons. In her free time, Abby enjoys camping, baking, knitting, and reading.

Tiona Jones is a research assistant in Dr. Helgeson's lab.  She graduated with a degree in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012.  She worked in Dr. Helgeson's undergraduate research lab studying the transition from the pediatric to the adult health care system for adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes.

Jennifer Melnyk studied psychology at Carnegie Mellon University for her undergraduate degree. She then got her MSW with a COSA (Community, Organization, and Social Action) Concentration at Pitt in 2017. She joined the lab while in grad school, but decided to stay even after graduation because of the amazing staff. Currently, most of her free time is devoted to renovating her house with her husband.

Michele Russo graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She has worked as a Research Assistant with Dr. Helgeson since 2015. She works on the DiADIC Study, which focuses on Type 1 Diabetes in the context of marital and family relationships. In her free time, Michele enjoys knitting, playing soccer, and cooking.

Meredith Van Vleet is a post-doctoral researcher in Dr. Helgeson's lab. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Grand Valley State University, where she researched predictors of perceived support among strangers. She received her Master's degree and doctorate at Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied support of exploration and personal goals in romantic relationships, and play behavior (activities that are pursued with the goal of amusement or fun, that are carried out with an enthusiastic, in-the-moment approach, and that are highly interactive in nature) in adult romantic relationships, often employing observational methods. Her doctorate work examined immediate and long-term consequences of play behavior in adult romantic relationships. As a post-doctoral researcher, she has been studying how couples cope with chronic illness. Her research interests lie under the umbrella of positive processes in close relationships-- including play behavior, social support in contexts of adversity and exploration, and coping with chronic illness. In her spare time Meredith enjoys attending concerts, watching hockey, reading, board games, and playing with her dog, Maude.